They say there's no crying in baseball, but fans could be forgiven for shedding a tear over news that the Rochester Red Wings has canceled its 2020 season.
The news came Tuesday afternoon after Major League Baseball informed Minor League Baseball that it will not provide players for the 2020 season.
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“While this saddens me and so many of our fans, we certainly understand that the health concerns outweighed all other factors,” said Red Wings President, CEO, and COO Naomi Silver in a statement posted on the team’s site. “It is unfortunate that at a time when baseball could have been a real source of healing, we have been unable to provide it for our community. But Red Wings baseball will persevere, and we look forward to next year when we can welcome our friends back to the ballpark.”
MiLB’s announcement also means the Batavia Muckdogs' season, which was supposed to start on June 19, is canceled.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit sports at all levels. Only recently have NASCAR, the English Premier League, the PGA, LPGA, and the National Women’s Soccer League resumed play. Other leagues, like MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS, are planning to resume or play shortened seasons. Minor league teams, like the Rochester Americans, are unsure of when they’ll play again. High school and college sports are in limbo; many Division 3 college sports teams have canceled their fall sports seasons.
Red Wings game ticketholders can exchange them for a ticket of equal value for any game in 2021, the team said. Refunds, in certain situations, are available and should be requested through the team.
“The loss of an entire season has put a strain on all Minor League Baseball teams, and we are among those who feel the financial effects," Silver said. "To the extent that fans and sponsors can afford to allow their 2020 payments to be held over to 2021, it would be extremely helpful to our ongoing operation. We were well prepared for a rainy day — or even a rainy season — but never did we imagine the absence of an entire season.”
This summer will be the first in Rochester without professional baseball since 1894, although it almost happened in 1957, when the community rallied around the call of Morrie Silver, the late father of Naomi, and bought stock in the Red Wings to keep the team here.
Juan Vazquez is a reporter for WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. He can be reached at [email protected].